HelloFresh workers in Aurora say “no” to union

Workers at the HelloFresh factory in Aurora voted 166-91 against forming a union to represent the employees who put together home-delivered meal kits.

The National Labor Relations Board counted the votes Monday. Mail-in voting by the roughly 350 eligible employees began Oct. 28.

About 900 employees at a HelloFresh workplace in Richmond, Calif., started voting Nov. 18 on whether to form a union.

The employees who organized the Aurora vote said they wanted to form a union to seek better pay and working conditions at HelloFresh, the country’s largest provider of home-delivered meal kits. An accident in June that occurred when a pallet with bins fell from a high rack on four employees, seriously injuring one, further galvanized the union backers.

The employees and organizers with Unite Here, a union that represents workers in the food service and other industries, had hoped to capitalize on the momentum of strikes and wage gains by people who have kept going to work every day during the pandemic.

Janitors at Denver International Airport who are members of the Service Employees International Union Local 105 won a $4 hourly raise after walking off the job Saturday, just as Thanksgiving holiday travel was getting underway.

“HelloFresh workers in Aurora fell short in their vote to join Unite Here Local 23 after a long anti-union campaign. Our hearts go out to the workers who organized the union because they wanted to change the disrespect, dangerous working conditions, and pay in their workplace,” Kevin Abels, president of the local union, said in a statement.

Throughout the process, HelloFresh has respected each employee’s right to decide for themselves if they want to be represented by a union or not, company spokeswoman Robyn Schweitzer, said in a statement.

“We are committed to fostering open and direct dialogue with our employees and continuously look for ways to keep improving,” Schweitzer said.

Employees who helped organize the election criticized HelloFresh for hiring consultants to speak during mandatory meetings about unions leading up to the vote. The company said the sessions were informational.

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